Goodbye Old Okie

This May we had a live performance of Bust It Like a Mule with original music written for the book.  Jenny Anne's younger brother Kit Bulla happened to be in town, so, naturally, we made him get up and play the entire show with us. Being as how he's from the same stock as Jenny Anne, he was awesome, of course (He a star in his own right, having just come off his performance as Richard the III in his Junior year at University of Evansville ). Then he went back home to Nashville and a few weeks later he tells me he and his girlfriend Brogan Lozano wrote an original song for the book, and when I listened to it, it made me happy - happy because it's a great song, and I love Kit, and seeing his creative energy is always inspiring, he's been buck wild since he was a boy - as a matter of fact, he inspired a few wild Cotton tales in the book - I'll let him tell which ones. Also, it makes me happy to see Cotton grow larger than life around the campfire to all generations...

So, here's Kit singing and playing with back up on guitar and bass from his dad, Brad Bulla, fresh off his band Fireball Mail's win for best new band at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy!

Rough and Rowdy: A Bust It Mix

My older brother Nate is a an incredible audiophile, musical lexicon, and mixtape master. He's been making mixtapes since tapes were a real thing. So naturally, I asked him to put together a mix based on my book, and he said 'sure!' and then he did. We played it at our Hootenannys,  and I've we've been playing it at home ever since. It's a great playlist to listen to while reading the book, going camping, or cruising down Main. So pull up a chair, a copy of Bust It, and let Hank, Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, and a bunch of other good old boys n gals soothe your soul.

Thanks Nate!

Workin Man - Kevin Morgan

"There’s a difference between a hobo and a bum, and this song is surely about a man who, like Cotton Kingfisher, is no bum.  A hobo rides the rails to look for work, not a handout.  Cotton has a moral ethic to his wandering ways and refuses to mooch off a soul.  Nonetheless, the good-natured hobo has to war with the bad-natured demons and vices of his own soul, and any ill-willed poor-mannered souls he tips his hat to along the way.  “Workin’ Man” is a manifesto of that struggle.  A chorus -- sung by a giant chorus of men -- came in to my head one night as I was putting my daughter down for bed.  Then I decided to record some authentic raw working sounds for a percussive beat -- a shovel of gravel, the chop of an axe, the pound of a hammer.  This song combines a love of old ballads like “Big John” and “Sixteen Tons” with the home-brew style of Tom Waits."

Kevin Morgan

Musical Guest Post- John Cowan

One of my biggest artistic advocates for the last 8 years has been my step father in law, soulsinger/bassist John Cowan. He's read everything I've thrown and him and asked for more. He's been known to call me after reading my novel to ask me a series of probing questions. John has been one of Bust It Like A Mule's biggest fans, so when I asked him a couple of years ago if he would lend a song to the project, he said sure, and something about Wayfaring Stranger, which would fit nicely with Cotton's wandering spirit. I had no idea he was talking about Wayfaring Stranger by the bluegrass guitar god Tony Rice, and produced by the one and only John Carter Cash. I imagine this is what it sounds like in Heaven as we sit around the great bonfire of life with our loved ones.

"When you die there aint no angels with harps just angels with real pretty voices that sing and sing prettier than a daddy's high Okie voice in the Oklahoma hills and there are no mean strings in em."( Bust It Like A Mule pg 247)

Do Si Do-Jenny Anne Mannan

"If you have never seen a do si do or a chicken in the breadpan kickin out dough or allemande your partner or promenade or a two step then you are missing out but if you have seen them and haven't seen em done by Cotton then you are further missing out but if you have seen either of these things but not with that beer bottle wildflower pretty girl that night under the Montana big sky my friend you missed a show." Bust It Like a Mule pg 137

Bygone Day-Kevin Morgan

Well I’m a walkin a whistlin my worry away
Can’t add a cubit no how
I’m a hummin and thumbin, ya goin my way?
Well, I’m goin your way now
Yeah I work while I whistle a tune from a bygone day

In the bygone day
O, by-gone day
Yeah I work while I whistle a tune from a bygone day
In the bygone day
O, bygone day, aw Lord
I’m livin’ like a legend back from a bygone day.

I’m a wheezin and heavin and hoein away
To get to another town
I’m pushin and shovin a stone up a hill
Watchin while it roll back down
Yeah, I struggle like the Strongman back in the bygone day

I bargain and barter and work for my wear
And what I eat from my can
Either taken a stand or walked from a fight
But you can never say I ran
Jus tryin to live like the Good Lord did back in the bygone day

I been known to high-tone to folks in the pews
Folks who take comfort in fear
Well, I pontificate my philosophy
To anyone who give me an ear
I’ll bella’ how they blow our world to the bygone day

They’ll be singin’a song about my trials
Singin about my woes
They’ll be writin a poem about my deeds
The ground where I touch my toes
Yeah, you know they’ll be talkin about me in the bygone day